Asset World aims to raise up to US$1.6b in Thailand's biggest IPO since 2001

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BANGKOK (Sept 11): Thai billionaire Chareon Sirivadhanabhakdi's hospitality and retail arm, Asset World Corporation (AWC), aims to raise up to 48 billion baht (US$1.6 billion) next month in Thailand's biggest corporate listing in nearly two decades.

AWC, which announced its IPO plan in June, said on Wednesday that it will sell up to 8 billion shares in the initial public offering, at 6 baht per share, between Sept 25 and Oct 3.

That would make it the country's largest IPO since Thailand's largest energy company PTT's share offering in 2001.

Thirteen cornerstone investors have subscribed to half of AWC's shares, including Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.

AWC expects to list on Oct 10, it said in a statement.

The underwriters include Kasikorn Securities, Bualuang Securities, Phatra Securities, and Siam Commercial Bank.

The proceeds will be used for acquiring assets, developing and renovating existing assets and repaying debt.

AWC's hospitality business makes up 61% of revenue, with 21.15% from offices and 17.8% from its retail unit.

Across its 10 hotels, occupancy was 77% in January-June, down from 72% from a year earlier.

The firm's commercial office businesses, in Bangkok, had a combined net leasable area (NLA) of 270,594 square meters and an occupancy rate of 84%.

It plans to increase NLA for retail and wholesale operations by 151% from current levels of about 165,628 square metres to 415,481 sqm by 2025.

The group's retail and wholesale business, which includes community malls and a wholesale trading centre, mostly in Bangkok, had occupancy of 72% in the first half of the year, down from 76% in the same period of last year.

The firm's profits have fallen to 489 million baht last year, from 1.3 billion baht in 2017 and 2.9 billion in 2016.

AWC, managed by Charoen's daughter Wallapa, will pay dividends of at least 40% of profit, according to a filing.

Chareon's two sons oversee the alcoholic drinks maker Thai Beverage and another real estate business under Frasers Property Limited.

His other two daughters and their husbands manage the group's financial arm Southeast Insurance and retailer Berli Jucker Pcl.

(US$1 = 30.60 baht)